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Tropic news. Volume 11. Issue 7.

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Title:
Tropic news. Volume 11. Issue 7.
Series Title:
Tropic news
Creator:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Publisher:
United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Fish and Wildlife.
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English

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Caribbean ( LCSH )
Newspapers -- Caribbean ( LCSH )
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serial ( sobekcm )
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North America -- United States Virgin Islands
Caribbean

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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TROPIC NEWS
nrr RAirTnTr OF PLANNING AND NATURAL DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
RESOURCES


April/May 1999


The Dangers of
Personal Watercraft

Personal Watercraft (PWC), also known as Jet
Skis, Waterbikes, and SeaDoos, are aquatic craft
propelled by a water jet drive which are capable of
achieving planing speeds. Produced by manufac-
turers of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles,
PWC are basically different from conventional
boats in terms of both design and use. Unlike other
motorized boats, their shallow draft design allows
PWC to be operated at high speeds in shallow
areas close to shore. Highly maneuverable and
capable of speeds exceeding 65 m.p.h., PWC are
marketed as "thrill" vehicles.
PWC are the fastest growing segment of the
boating industry in the U.S., accounting for one
third of all boats sales. The $1.4 billion PWC indus-
try sells approximately 200,000 units per year.
PWC are known to have multiple negative
impacts on the environment. They have had an
unprecedented effect in terms of noise pollution,
marine pollution, wildlife harassment, and safety
on the waterways. Marine users as well as shore-
line hikers and wildlife enthusiasts complain that
the high-pitched, mosquito like whine of PWC
often ruin their wilderness experience. PWC pro-
duce noise levels in the range of 85-105 decibels
(dB) per unit. The American Hospital Association
recommends hearing protection for occasional
sounds above 85 dB.
A controlled study of PWC in the San Juan
Islands (Washington State) by the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institute concluded that PWC,
which lack a low-frequency long distance sound, do
not signal surfacing birds or mammals (including
humans) of approaching danger until they are
almost on top of them. The high frequency sounds
PWC produce in both air and water also startle
birds and other wildlife. Scientists in New Jersey
observed PWC frightening ospreys and terns away
from their nests, leaving their eggs vulnerable to


March/April 1999 Redhook, St. Thomas
Temperature
Maximum Minimum Rainfall
83.6/86.10F 67.4/ 68.00F 1.99/ 1.34 inches


Volume 11 Number 7/8


_ L I I I


predators.
PWC are designed to travel into shallow and
more remote shoreline areas and regularly harass
wildlife during normal use. Wildlife biologists
throughout the country have testified on the exist-
ing and potential impacts of PWC use. In Califor-
nia, biologists observed the separation of seal pups
from adult mothers because of PWC activity
nearby. In Florida, endangered manatees have
been run over by PWC. Officials at the Washing-
ton State Department of Fish and Wildlife's Eco-
system Management Program report that they are
becoming "increasingly concerned with the effect of
motorized personal watercraft...particularly jet
skis, on both nesting birds and spawning salmon."
The PWC's two-stroke engine runs on a
mixture of oil and gasoline, discharging as much
as one third of this mixture unburned into the
water and at a much higher rate than other two-
stroke engines. An average two hour "thrill ride
on a PWC dumps 2 1/2 gallons of gas and oil into
the water. In addition, PWC have twice the hourly
usage rate of other water vessels.
Hydrocarbons (HC) in gas and oil released
from two-stroke motors float on the surface and
settle within the shallow ecosystems of water
bodies. These areas are home to many organisms
at the base of the food chain: fish larvae, algae,
shellfish, and zooplankton. Scientists have deter-
mined that HC pollution bioaccumulates within
the complex food web, posing a serious threat to
the marine environment.
On August 31, 1996, the EPA passed new
rules regulating the emissions of HCs and nitro-
gen oxides (NOs) from marine two-stroke engines
used in outboards and personal watercraft. As a
result, manufacturers introduced alternative
outboard engine configurations in model year
1998. These include four- stroke engines, direct -
injection two-strokes, and the use of catalytic
converters The finalized rules reduce the average
HC emissions of a manufacturer's new motors by


Quote
"If we allow environmental deterioration to
continue, man's fate may be worse than extinc.
tion." Ron S. Boster







75% by the year 2006.
While PWC's represent only 8% of all vessels
on U.S. waters, they accounted for 40% of all
boating accidents in 1995. They were involved in
40% of all boating related injuries during the same
year. These numbers are even higher in some
states (Colorado's statistics for 1996 were 6% and
50% respectively).
For inexperienced PWC riders (those who
most commonly operate the craft) steering poses a
particular problem. PWC have no brakes or clutch
to aid maneuvering and are unsteerable at high
speeds when the throttle is cut. When operators let
up on the throttle to avoid a collision-- something
people are conditioned to do with bicycles and
cars- they go straight, essentially becoming un-
controllable.
This article was excerpted from Polluting for Pleasure:
Part II by Russell Long and the Bluewater Network PWC
Position Paper. For more information, contact the Bluewater
Network, 300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco, CA 94133,
(415) 788-3666.
Note: Title 25, Chapter 15 VIRR Subchapter 297 of
the Virgin Islands Code has been established to regulate
the operation of Motorboats, Personal Watercraft and
other Thrillcraft operations.
There are very specific regulations regarding the
operation of PWCs. The V I code requires a personal
flotation, device approved by the Coast Guard to be used
by operators and passengers, the minimum age of 18 for
PWC operators, and prohibits excessive speeds or
dangerous maneuvers. There are also restrictions on the
operation of PWC's in many of the bays within the VI.
The primary purpose of these rules and regulations
is to ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors of the
Virgin Islands. Just as important they help to protect
the environment. A copy of the Rules and Regulations
can be obtained from DPNR- Bureau of Environmental
Enforcement. Phone: 340-776-8600


Dol-phfnfishf Corypiaena hippurus
Dolphin Tournament
The Virgin Islands Game Fish Club hosted
the Annual Dolphin Tournament on Sunday
April 11, 1999 at the Piccola Marina, Redhook. A
total of 107 anglers and 28 boats competed
however, by weigh in deadline at 3:00 pm only 9
boats had weighed in. Many boats decided to
head home since they didn't catch anything.
Apparently, the annual migration of dolphins did
not pass through the VI or was late. It showed in
the low number of dolphins caught. Of the 23
fish caught only 10 were dolphins. Other species
caught included wahoo, blackfin tuna, and yel-
lowfin tuna.
Two anglers shared first place for the largest
dolphin caught (28.8 lbs). Despite the disappoint-
ing dolphin catch, everyone had a great time and
several anglers reported spotting whales and
porpoises.
The numbers of fish caught in this tourna-
ment have varied from year to year. In 1996, of
the 34 fish caught 14 were dolphins. In 1997, of
the 123 fish caught, 98 were dolphins. In 1998,
the numbers were similar to this year's catch.


S This newsletter was funded by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service, Sport Fish and
S Wildlife Restoration Acts, the Caribbean
o Fishery Management Council and the
RA Government of the VI.
Donna M. Griffin Editor
Ralf H. Boulon Jr. Chief of Environmental E.rlatonn


GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
OF THE UNITED STATES
******
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104
(340)775-6762 (ST.T.), (340)772-1955 (ST.X.)






Address Correction Requested


BULK RATE
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, V.
PERMIT NO. 35


Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper


I~ -~ ~




Full Text

PAGE 1

OF PLANNING AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE Anril/Mav 1999 Volume 11 Number 7/8 The Dangers of Personal Watercraft Personal Watercraft (PWC), also known as Jet Skis, Waterbikes, and SeaDoos, are aquatic craft propelled by a water jet drive which are capable of achieving planing speed~. Produced by manufac~ turersof all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles, PWC are basically different from conventional boats in terms of both design and use. Unlike other motorized boats, their shallow draft design allows PWC to be operated at high speeds in shallow areas close to shore. Highly maneuverable and capable of speeds exceeding 65 m.p.h., PWC are marketed as "thrill" vehicles. PWC are the fastest growing segment of the boating industry in the U.S., accounting for one .third of all boats sales. The $1.4 billion PWC industry sells approximately 200,000 units per year. PWC are known to have multiple negative impacts on the environment. They have had an unprecedented effect in terms of noise pollution, marine pollution, wildlife harassment, and safety on the waterways. Marine users as well as shoreline hikers and wildlife enthusiasts complain that the high-pitched, mosquito like whine of PWC often ruin their wilderness experience. PWC produce noise levels in the range of 85-105 decibels (dB) per unit. The American Hospital Association recommends hearing protection for occasional sounds above 85 dB. A controlled study of PWC in the San Juan Islands (Washington State) by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute concluded that PWC, which lack a low-frequency long distance sound, do not signal surfacing birds or mammals (includi:ng humans) of approaching danger until they are almost on top of them. The high frequency sounds PWC produce in both air and water also startle birds and other wildlife. Scientists in New Jersey observed PWC frightening ospreys and terns away from their nests, leaving their eggs vulnerable to predators. PWC a1'e designed to travel into shallow and more remote shoreline areas and regularly harass wildlife during normal use. Wildlife biologists throughout the country have testified on the exist~ ing and potential impacts of'PWC use. In California, biologists observed the separation of seal' pups from adult mothers because of PWC activity nearby. In Florida, endangered manatees have been run over by PWC. Officials at the Washington St~te DepartmeJ;1t ofFish and Wildlife's Ecosystem Management Program report that they are becoming "increasingly concerned with the effect of motorized personal watercraft...particularlyjet skis, on both nesting birds and spawning salmon." The PWC's two-stroke engine runs on a mixture of oil and gasoline, discharging as much as one third of this mixture unburned into the water and at a much higher rate than other twostroke engines. An average two hour "thrill " ride on a PWC dumps 2 1/2 gallons of gas and oil into the water. In addition, PWC have twice the hourly usage rate of other witer vessels. Hydrocarbons (HC) in gas and oil released from two-stroke motors float on the surface and settl~ within the shallow ecosystems of water bodies. These areas are home to many organisms at the base of the food chain: fish larvae, algae, shellfish, and zooplankton. Scientists have determined that HC pollution bioaccumulates within the complex food web, posing a serious threat to the marine environment. On August 31,1996, the EPA passed new rules regulating the emissions of HCs and nitrogen oxides (NOs) from marine two-strok~ engines used in outboards and personal watercraft. As a result, manufacture~s introduced alternative outboard engine configurations in model year 1998. These include fourstroke engines, direct injection two-strokes, and the use of catalytic converters The finalized rules reduce the average HC emissions of a manufacturer's new motors bv Quote "If we allow environmental deterioration to continue, man's fate ma:y be worse than extinc, tion." Ron S. Boster March/April 1999 Redhook, St. Thomas Temperature Maximum Minimum Rainfall 83.6/86.1°F 67.4/ 68.0°F 1.99/1.34 inches

PAGE 2

. ~ 75% by the year 2006. While PWC's repres~nt only 8% of all vessels on U.S. waters, they accounted for 40% of all boating accidents. in 1995. They were involved in 40% of all boating related injuries during the same year. These numbers are even higher in some states (Colorado's statistics for 1996 were 6% and 50% respectively). For inexperienced pWC riders (those who most commonly operate the craft) steering poses a particular problem. PWQ have no brakes or .clutch to aid maneuvering and are unsteerable at high speeds when the throttle is cut. When operators let up on the throttle to avoid a collision-something people are conditioned to do with bicycles and cars~.; they go straight, essentially becoming uncontrollable. This articl~ was excerpted from Polluting for Pleasure: Part II by Russell Long and the Bluew~ter Network PWC Position Paper. For more information, contact th'e Bluewater Network, 300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco, CA 94133, (415) 788-3666. Note: Title 25, Chapter 15VIRR Subchapter 297 of the Virgin Islands Code has been established to regulate the operation of Motorboats, Personal W~tercraft and other Thrillcraft operations. There are very specific regulations regarding the operation of PWCs. The V 1 code requires a personal flotation device approved by the Coast Guard to be used by operators and passengers, the minimum age of 18 for PWC operators, and prohibits excessive speeds or dangerous maneuvers. There are also restrictions on the operation of PWC's in many of the bays within the VI. The primary purpose of these rules and regulations is to ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors of the Virgin Islands. Just as important they help to protect the environment. A copy of the Rules and Regulations can be obtained from DPNRBureau of Environmental Enforcement. Phone: 340-776-8600 ~c:.1:i&~ This newsletter was funded by the US ~ ~% Fi~h ~nd Wildlife.Service, Sport Fi~h and 5!~t~FI1 WIldlIfe RestoratIon Acts, the Canbbean ~(: o~ Fishery Management Council and the . -d~R.b.~ Government of the VI. Donna M. Griffin Editor RalfH. Boulon Jr. -'ChiefofEnvironmpnt~l Rrltt,.~t;nn BULKRA1E U;S. POSTAGE PAID CHARLOT1E AMALIE, V. PERMIT NO. 35 GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES ****** Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division ofFish and Wildlife 6291 Estate Nazareth 101 St. Thomas, USVI 00802-1104 {340)775-6762 (ST.T.), (340)772-1955 (ST.X.) Address Correction Requested Trees were saved by printing on recycled paper Dolphin Tournament The Virgi~ Islands Game Fish Club hosted the Annual Dolphin Tournament on Sunday April 11, 1999 at the Piccola Marina, Redhook. A total of 107 anglers and 28 boats competed however, by weigh in deadline at 3:00 pm only 9 boats had weighed in. M~ny boats decid~d to head home since they didn't catch anything. Apparently, the annual migration of dolphins did riot pass through the VI or was late. It showed in the low number of dolphins caught. Of the 23 fish caught only 10 were dolphins. Other species caught included wahoo, blackfin tuna, and yellowfin tuna. Two anglers shared first place for the largest dolphin caught (28.8 lbs). Despite the disappointing dolphin catch, everyone had a great time and several anglers reported spotting whales and . porpOIses. The numbers of fish caught in this tournament have varied from year to year. In 1996, of the 34 fish caught 14 were dolphins. In 1997, of the 123 fish caught, 98 were dolphins. In 1998, the numbers were similar to this year's catch.